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Third China Canadian arrest: no reason to believe related

20 December, 2018, 14:27 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • A source confirms that Sarah is the third detainee

A third Canadian citizen has been detained in China, according to Global Affairs Canada, the country's foreign ministry.

At a daily news briefing in Beijing, China's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she was unaware of the situation.

Chinese authorities have detained a Canadian woman over what they say are employment issues, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he didn't believe the case is linked to the recent arrests of two other Canadians in the country.

She is the third Canadian being held after the arrest in Vancouver of Weng Manzhou, chief financial officer of telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co., at the request of the US, which wants her extradited on allegations related to sanctions against Iran.

This is the third detention in China of a Canadian following the arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou several weeks ago.

Pressed at his end-of-year press conference Wednesday to explain why he had not personally intervened in the case, for example, by calling China's President Xi Jinping, Mr Trudeau said: "Political posturing or political statements aren't necessarily going to contribute, (and) in some cases they might actually hinder efforts to secure Canadians' release".

The United States holds its place as the world's largest economy, followed by China, although the latter has a larger GDP when measured by PPP.

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Bob Rae, Canada's special envoy to Myanmar and a former Liberal Party leader, tweeted yesterday that "there are no coincidences" and said the detentions look "too much like hostage taking". In this case, official and quasi-official Chinese sources have been clear.

Ms Meng was arrested on December 1 at the request of judicial officials in the USA, which accuses her of breaching its sanctions on Iran. "Consular officials are providing assistance to the family", said spokesperson Maegan Graveling.

Meng was released on bail last week in Vancouver pending a United States extradition hearing on USA fraud charges related to sanctions-breaking business dealings with Iran. "The allegations of national security problems, even objectively, are very different from a routine case or a problem with a visa or something of that nature", CBC quoted Trudeau as saying at a year-end conference on Wednesday (local time).

Philip Calvert, a former diplomat in China and now a research fellow at the University of Victoria, said at least the first two detentions were indicative of "the way China often engages internationally in situations like this". It has demanded her release and warned of serious consequences for Canada.

The news adds to the deepening dispute between the two countries, which began with Canada's arrest of a high-profile Chinese telecommunications executive on December 1.

They were both detained on Dec 10.


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